Data centres play a vital role within the health and medical research sectors around the world, with an increased reliance on electronic health records and the ongoing digitisation of the healthcare industry, improving patient care through the use of technology such as artificial intelligence and automation.

This role is one of great responsibility — protecting not only the confidential data of patients, but also their wellbeing.

January saw a technical issue affect two NHS data centres in Wales, leaving consultants unable to obtain the blood test and x-ray results of patients.

More infamously, 2017’s WannaCry ransomware attack caused disruption in at least 34% of trusts in England.* The outage left patients with cancelled operations, GP appointments and diverted ambulances.

Our dual strategy for data centre protection

2bm continually work with clients within the health and medical research sector, ensuring they safely progress towards meeting the government’s Personalised Health and Care 2020 framework by enabling better use of data and technology, helping to improve health, quality of service and reducing the cost of health and care services.

We ensure the protection of patient privacy and wellbeing by adopting a dual strategy which both prevents and limits the damage caused by data centre downtime.

Prevention

Regular preventative maintenance is the key to protecting a data centre from power outages.

Power outages can be caused by a variety of issues ranging from component failures to environmental factors and fire breakouts. An organised maintenance plan which monitors the status of key areas within a facility can help to safeguard against the occurrence of these events.

During a recent project for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Luton ICT Shared Services, 2bm installed an environmental monitoring system in the facility with the ability to provide remote monitoring and alerts via SNMP. The system also included temperature and humidity sensors.

One of the most popular products installed by 2bm is the iMeter, which is designed to enable IT and facilities personnel to quickly and efficiently manage power consumption. The iMeter is paired with a powerful data collection, analytical and reporting software suite which many clients find easy to use.

A comprehensive fire prevention strategy is also key to protecting data centre equipment. A high quality fire suppression service — including 24/7 support — is offered as part of the 2bm Critical Infrastructure Maintenance service.

Damage Limitation

Sometimes, despite sophisticated planning, disaster can strike. For this reason, 2bm always ensure that clients have a contingency plan in place to keep their facility up and running no matter what.

In the case of HBL ICT, resilience was increased through the installation of a back-up generator, capable of taking the ‘full data centre’ load for 72 hours.

2bm also conducted a full inspection of the facility, including IST testing, commissioning and demonstrations of failure scenarios under fault conditions. A simulated in-rack data centre load was used in order to achieve this, providing level 4 & 5 integrated testing.

To find out more about preventing data centre outages, or to arrange for a free site survey, contact a 2bm team member today.

*source: nao.org.uk